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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Millville officer recovers from crash that killed fellow officer with help from family, friends | NJ.com

Millville officer recovers from crash that killed fellow officer with help from family, friends | NJ.com

MILLVILLE — These days, it’s not unusual to see Patrolman Johnathan Seidel quietly buzzing all over the Millville Police Station. He’s become something of an administrative renaissance man, handling everything from dispatch to evidence room duty.

“It doesn’t sound like much,” Thomas Haas, Millville police chief said. “It’s great to have him back though. He’s a very dedicated officer and has been doing a tremendous  job.”

Being cooped up in a station may not be ideal for a career officer like Seidel, but less than three months ago, he was severely injured in the July 8 crash that killed fellow Millville Officer Christopher Reeves. Being able to do even the simplest tasks seemed like a long way off for Seidel.

In addition to a concussion, broken rib, punctured lung and a broken forearm, Seidel, along with the rest of the law enforcement community, had to cope with the loss of a brother.

“I don’t know if anyone is to the point of recovery from this tragedy,” Seidel said. “I don’t know that anyone will ever be there.”

But thanks to the support of his friends, family and fellow officers, Seidel has been making big strides on the road to recovery.

Immediately following the crash, he was flown to Cooper University Hospital, Camden, where he was met by his wife, Lindsey, as well as several friends and coworkers.

He was rushed to surgery where doctors repaired the broken bones in his arms by fixing metal plates to his radius and ulna, each held in by six screws. All along the way, he had support nearby.

“Millville made it a point to keep an officer with me around the clock,” he said. “I have to give the utmost thanks to my wife. She stayed with me while in was in the hospital.”

With her there to help him, Seidel said that it made it easier for him to focus on his recovery. It was his goal to return to life as usual as quickly as possible.

“He told me from the very beginning that I wasn’t going to take care of him,” said Lindsey, Seidel’s wife of five years.

Seidel transferred to Millville just two weeks prior to the crash. He had spent the previous five years as an officer at the Salem County Sheriff’s Office after two tours of duty in Iraq with the Army.

Reeves was mentoring Seidel as part of a field training program. Although he only knew him for a short time, Reeves already made a lasting impression on Seidel.

“Chris has been very highly spoken of,” Seidel said. “And I can assure you that he was even greater in person.

“I was only able to learn from him for a few days, but I feel like I’m a better person and a better officer because of it.”

After three days in the hospital, Seidel was released. Reeves’ funeral was scheduled to take place just two days later. Although he was in the beginning stages of recovering from his injuries, Seidel said there was no way that he would miss the opportunity to be there to show his support.

“I had already made up my mind that I was going to attend no matter what I had to do to accomplish it,” he said. “Fortunately, I was able to walk with my fellow officers.”

Seidel was among the hundreds of law enforcement officers as they marched in to Lakeside Middle School to honor the memory and service of Christopher Reeves. In such a large group of officers, the feeling of brotherhood was not lost on Seidel.

“We have to deal with certain situations unique to our profession,” he said. “There is a certain comfort that comes from being in the company of other officers, which cannot be found anywhere else.

“That connection and the immense respect that I have for Chris Reeves and his family made my attendance to the funeral the only option in my mind.”


SEIDEL FAMILY.JPGMillville Ptl. Johnathan Seidel along with his son, Isaiah and 
his wife, Lindsey. (Staff Photo by Brad Kingett/Today's Sunbeam)


The community would again come together when Seidel started his physical therapy two weeks later.

He was still very limited in what he could do. His left thumb was weak. His ability to rotate his arm was severely limited, and while he has been making improvements, Seidel still doesn’t know if he’ll be able to regain full rotation.

Seidel is in physical therapy three times a week. All along the journey, people have gone out of their way to show their support.

Complete strangers stop him just to say hello and let him know that he’s in their prayers. Students in Millville sent him hand-made get well cards. The daughter of a fallen officer even sent him a teddy bear to give to his 2-year-old son, Isaiah.

“He sleeps with that bear every night,” Seidel said.

The support has helped carry him through the toughest parts of his recovery, but Seidel’s own determination to return to the job he loves has really never wavered.

“Coming back to work was not the easiest,” he said. “However, it is what I want to do. Like most police officers, I enjoy what I do and cannot imagine doing anything else.”

Meanwhile, the other driver in the crash, Timothy Seidel (no relation), faces charges of aggravated manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, as well as other motor vehicle violations in relation to the July crash. 

“This incident has only furthered my resolve to seek out those that attempt to harm society,” Officer Seidel said.

As he rapidly approaches the day when he can return to his full duties at the Millville Police Department, life at home is beginning to look more like normal as well.

Last week, Seidel mowed his own grass for the first time in almost three months. He said that some of his former co-workers at the Salem Sheriff’s Department took turns cutting it while he recovered after the crash.

One of his biggest joys, though, is being able to pick up his son again.

“If he were any bigger I might not be able to,” Seidel said. “But, he’s still pretty light.”

Wounded Officer Colvin Georges Dies In Florida Hospital |

V.I. Police Officer Colvin Georges
Wounded Officer Colvin Georges Dies In Florida Hospital | 

V.I. Police Officer Colvin Georges, who was shot in the line of duty May 26, died early Saturday morning at a Miami hospital.

Georges and Officer Aaron Hodge both came under fire while approaching a suspect at the Contant Car Wash on St. Thomas, near where 22-year-old Jose Fuentes was gunned down the night before.

Police returned fire and one suspect, Gerald Jackson, was killed.

Hodge was released from the Schneider Regional Medical Center a few days after the incident. Georges, gravely wounded, paralyzed from the neck down, was airlifted to Florida a few days after the shooting.



Georges joined the force after graduating from police academy in 2010, where he earned the exemplary service award and scored the highest physical fitness score for men.

Jackson had been arrested in April after being found with crack cocaine, powder cocaine and marijuana packaged for sale, and a handgun.

Community leaders and elected officials reacted with sadness and outrage to the news, while praising Georges for his selfless devotion to his community.

“It is an outrage that our officers who are doing their job, putting their lives on the line every day to protect us, could be shot down,” Delegate Donna Christensen said in a statement. “He did his job with distinction in his short tenure with VIPD and fought valiantly to overcome his devastating injuries. We are immensely proud of him for the character and bravery he has shown.”

Gov. John deJongh Jr offered heartfelt sympathies to Officer Georges’ parents.

“We will remember Officer Georges for his service to the community during his career with the VIPD and perhaps, more importantly, we will remember his fight to overcome the grave injuries he sustained in the gunfight against the criminal element,” DeJongh said in a statement.

“We all share the grief of the loss of this public servant. ... Our community appreciates the efforts of these dedicated law enforcement professionals and public servants who take to the streets of the Virgin Islands each day to ensure the safety of our communities,” deJongh said.

Deadly Officer Involved Shooting In Coeur d'Alene

Deadly Officer Involved Shooting In Coeur d'Alene

UPDATED Kootenai County Sheriff's Department Press Release: 
The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office is investigating an officer involved shooting incident that involved the Coeur d'Alene Police Department earlier today.

Initial information indicates that Coeur d'Alene Police Officers responded to the area of 11th
Street and Lakeside Avenue just before 11:00 a.m. today for a report of a man who had been shot in the chest.

Responding Police Department officers located the suspect vehicle as it was eastbound on Mullan Avenue. Officers attempted to stop the suspect, but ended up pursuing him to Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive, and eastbound to the area near Higgins' Point.

During the pursuit, the suspect reportedly fired at the officers. Near Higgins' Point, the suspect lost control of his vehicle, spun out and an exchange of shots occurred, with the suspect being fatally wounded.

The Interagency Critical Investigation Team will be investigating the incident. The team is made
up of investigators from most local agencies.

It is unknown at this time what precipitated the original shooting incident. The victim from the
original shooting is reportedly in surgery at Kootenai Medical Center at this time.

UPDATE: Investigators are continuing to process the multiple scenes involved in today's
shooting incident. Investigators have identified four different scenes in the City of Coeur
d'Alene where the suspect shot at citizens.

Additionally, investigators are dealing with the scene where the suspect was fatally wounded by police gun fire after shooting at Coeur d'Alene Police Officers who were pursuing the suspect.

Citizens who were unable to leave the Higgins' Point area after the shooting due to the road
closures were finally able to leave the area about 3:45 p.m. In the mean time, Sheriff's
Auxilliary and Sheriff's deputies provided food and water for the stranded citizens.

The suspect has not yet been positively identified. Once he is and next of kin notified, his
identity will be released. Investigators expect to be busy on the scene for several more hours and will continue to follow up throughout the remainder of the weekend.

Previous Coverage:

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d'Alene Police are currently investigating a shooting that occurred at 11th and Lakeside at 11:00am. The status of that victim is unknown at this time. The suspect in the shooting fled the scene and continued firing randomly at other victims as he drove. Officers contacted the suspect in the area of Higgins Point. Another shooting occurred and according to authorities, the suspect was shot and killed by law enforcement.

Detectives are currently investigating both incidents. Road closures have occurred at the 1100 and 1200 block of Lakeside. Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive is also closed at Yellowstone Trail. The public is asked to alternate routes and avoid those areas.

KHQ has a crew on scene gathering more information and we will update this story as soon as any new information becomes available.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Salina cop shot in face released from OKC hospital

Salina cop shot in face released from OKC hospital


SALINA, Kansas (KSN) -- A Salina police officer shot in the face during a Friday morning standoff and has been released from the hospital but the department tells KSN he still faces a long road to recovery that will include several surgeries.

The stand off started after midnight in the 300 block of North 13th Street.

According to police, at around 11:30 p.m. Thursday a Cadillac was taken from the 1100 block of North 5th Street.

A few minutes later, the Cadillac was then found in the 300 block of North 13th Street behind a home.

Officers arrived at the house was told the suspect was in the basement.

When officers entered the house, the suspect, identified as Marijon Gadson, fired multiple shots and hit one officer, identified as Chuck Huen in the face.

"No police chief or police employee ever wants to hear something like this about a fellow employee," said Chief James Hill, Salina Police Department.

One officer returned fire as the other officers went to Huen's aid.

Officers backed out of the home, called an ambulance, and summoned the Special Response Team.

Neighbor Sheryl Reyes said she heard the incident and is shocked it happened so close to home.

"I know Salina's not free of crime. It's all over you just have to deal with it."

After repeated attempts to talk to the suspects, SRT entered the home and found Gadson dead in the basement.

Huen was rushed to Wichita and then transfered to an Oklahoma City hospital where doctors released him on Saturday.

"I think the officer is going to recooperate. The first thing about being shot in the head or face is surviving it, and he survived it," added Hill.

Salina police say Huen was a 10 year veteran of the department. 

The last officer injured in a shooting in Salina happened back in 1986.

As for the suspect, he had a criminal history.  

The Salina Police Department says they are lucky there were not more officers shot in the altercation.

Upon request of the Salina Police Department, the KBI has been contacted to conduct the investigation.

The Salina Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #68 have set up a relief fund for Officer Huen.

If interested, you may donate to Bennington State Bank to the "Chuck Huen Relief Fund", or call 785-827-5522.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Capitol Police sergeant killed in Wakulla County crash

Glenn Lewis Edrington
Capitol Police sergeant killed in Wakulla County crash  

A Capitol Police sergeant was killed in a motorcycle crash Wednesday afternoon in Wakulla County, according to Keith Blackmar a spokesman for the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office.

Glenn Lewis Edrington, 49, of Crawfordville, was traveling north on County Road 61 near Cajer Posey Road as a Nissan Titan began making a left turn onto Cajer Posey Road.

According to Florida Highway Patrol, the Nissan Titan driven by Aaron Scott Davis, 35, also of Crawfordville, traveled into the northbound lane striking the left front of the motorcycle driven by Edrington. Edrington was killed in the crash, while Davis sustained no injuries.


Edrington was off duty during the accident, according to a statement from FDLE Commissioner Gerald M. Bailey, which was sent out to all members of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.


Edrington was a sergeant with Capitol Police, part of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Sgt. Edrington joined Capitol Police in January of 1988 as a security officer, said FDLE communication director Gretl Plessinger.

He rose to law enforcement officer in 1996, and was one of the first members of the Capitol Police bike squad. He was promoted to sergeant in 2005 where he oversaw the bike squad and the Reserve Law Enforcement Officer Program.


“Law enforcement jobs are always demanding,” Commissioner Bailey said in the statement. “Take time today to support and appreciate your family and fellow FDLE members.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blue Alert System Gathering Support From Obama, Romney -

Blue Alert System Gathering Support From Obama, Romney - Bradenton, FL Patch


Updated 10:30 p.m.
The founder of an alert system for endangered, missing or shot law enforcement has seemed to find some common political ground.

Tom Berry of Venice is the founder of Blue Alert, which is a system similar to the Amber Alert and Silver Alert systems, but sends out notices for law enforcement who are missing, endangered, seriously wounded or killed.

"We want to nationalize it so when they go across the borders, everybody's going to know about what's happening," Berry told Patch.

You can sign up at www.bluealert.us to receive e-mail and text alerts in case the alert is activated, he said.

Berry attended the Gov. Mitt Romney rally at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Thursday afternoon.

Berry has garnered support from both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate for his system. The National Blue Alert Act passed the House of Representatives in May and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to Berry.

Berry is trying to get the word out that both candidates support the bill.

"I commend the efforts of states who have already taken action to enact the Blue Alert systems to ensure that critical information is quickly and appropriately disseminated to law enforcement agencies when a police officer is injured or killed," Obama said in a statement.
Romney supports the measure and hopes Congress will pass it.

"Over the last two Congresses, the National Blue Alert Act has mirred in a legislative dispute relating to funding streams and funding levels," he said in a statement.

Florida was the first state to use the system, Berry said, after it was invented in 2008. It is now in 17 states, and he said if the Senate passes it, Obama has pledged to sign the system into law.

Another component of Blue Alert is its foundation.

The non-profit has three componets:

•Brings support to familes of fallen officers

•Work nationally to support agencies' safety through purchasing bullet proof vests, arms, ammunition and other equipment

•Maintain and promote Blue Alert as a national notification system

The foundation's website can be accessed at www.bluealertfoundation.org or call 855-456-2210.
Find Blue Alert on Twitter and Facebook.

About this column: Find all your election profiles, news and stories right here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Homeland Security Today: Social Media Analytics Can Aid Law Enforcement, First Responders in Civil Unrest, Disasters, Investigations

Homeland Security Today: Social Media Analytics Can Aid Law Enforcement, First Responders in Civil Unrest, Disasters, Investigations

With the proliferation of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media websites, law enforcement agencies and first responders would do well to acclimate themselves to these tools.  Why? Because such websites can provide crucial information during civil unrest, natural disasters and other disturbances. Gaining real-time information can make a tremendous impact on response times and strategies, and rendering the necessary assistance. It’s for these very reasons that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) developed a specialized social media monitoring and data-mining capability – especially for responding to disaster and crisis events.

Similarly, the Department of Defense and US Intelligence Community have deployed similar technologies to meet their unique needs.

Recent tornadoes in Florida, NATO Summit civil unrest and other events give one pause about how such tools can be used. The ability to monitor Twitter hash tags or YouTube videos about unfolding events before first responders’ very eyes can help them gain valuable insights prior to actually having feet on the ground – as DHS learned from its social media monitoring program to assist US first responders and others who assisted Haitians during the horrific Jan. 2010 earthquake that devastated the tiny island nation.

A tornado, for example, results in chaos, potential loss of life and property - it’s imperative that emergency operations centers (EOCs) gain accurate information – and data, from the scene – even if from unofficial resources like the public.

As is the case with traditional investigations, police do not rely on one source of social media information to make an informed decision on a course of action. Officials listen for, and monitor, multiple posts to confirm events. Real-time information gives public officials the level of situational awareness that is important to decision-making processes.

It’s interesting to note that social media technology has been used in business for some time, but that it’s still relatively new territory to law enforcement and EOC personnel. But they can’t remain in the dark about the vital role that it’s able to play for much longer.

A recent story in USA Today about the State of Kansas, for example, noted that gangs there are using social media for recruiting and organizing members and sharing information. Law enforcement needs to identify these organizations so they can stay abreast of developments. One way to do so is with social media analytics – technology that allows users to quickly analyze social media content to pinpoint relevant patterns and information.

As I pointed out, DHS, Defense Department and some law enforcement departments have already deployed these capabilities.

But it’s not just about gleaning information … it’s also about pushing information to the public so people can be aware of dangerous situations so that they can protect loved ones until situations are brought under control. If there is a shooter on a school campus, for example, it’s not only the media’s responsibility to inform, but also law enforcement and EOCs to “push” out alerts through social media and special emergency mass notification communication systems.

Instances of violent circumstances bring up another point. Social media analysis tools can be used by law enforcement when threats have been made against public figures and other people.

Take the case of Jared Loughner, the man who shot Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011. His anti-government rants had been posted on a variety of social media sites prior to his attempt to assassinate Giffords. It consequently behooves law enforcement - with the goal of interdiction - to make full use of social media and sentiment analysis to assess social media posts like Loughner’s that make threats against life or property.

I am not advocating monitoring people’s private information. For private social media content, police need to follow the legal process of preparing an affidavit outlining probable cause that is presented to a judge, who, after thorough review, will or will not grant a search warrant.

Regardless of the importance of this private information to a criminal investigation, law enforcement must adhere to due process as dictated by state and federal law - and mandated by the US Constitution. However, law enforcement or private security firms can monitor public content to help identify individuals who pose potential threats. And this allows law enforcement to prevent or disrupt a violent act and/or provide evidence in a criminal case.

Sentiment analysis technology is readily available that can analyze thousands of social media postings in real-time using keywords like “anti-government” and return negative sentiment scores – the purpose of which, once again, is to try to identify individuals who pose real threats and thus provide law enforcement valuable information that may help prevent impending criminal activity.

While it’s certainly clear that some seemingly violent social media postings are nothing more than the rants of people just blowing off steam, it’s equally as clear that by analyzing social media posts and other publicly accessible information over a period of time that police can narrow, say, 100,000 posts classified as “critical” to 5,000 that truly represent real threats and necessitate further analysis. The analysts can assess whether an individual’s sentiment changes over a period of time, either reducing or increasing law enforcement’s concern that the person is indeed a serious threat.

When “rants” reach an overtly threatening level like a person’s declared desire to “hunt down a judge,” then the system can generate warnings to law enforcement analysts – even to Secret Service agents in the case of federal officials and private security agencies in the case of executives, entertainers, actors, etc.

Such notifications would be sent to requisite organizations for further evaluation. Another advantage of such a system is that social media monitoring technology can keep track of events without human interaction.

Still, we have to keep in mind that no action can take place without a thorough investigation to determine whether a potential threat is valid. If a threat threshold is reached, the responsible agency must determine the validity and seriousness of threat before appropriate legal action can be taken - legal action that could prevent a sinister act from occurring.

And it doesn’t necessarily mean an arrest, incarceration and trial of a person deemed a serious potential violent offender. It could mean that a person may be suffering from a mental illness and that law enforcement can aide in securing necessary help for the individual before he or she actually crosses a criminal line.

Does the person have a violent background? Police may be able to diffuse the situation by simply talking to the person and letting the individual know that someone is listening to them.

The goal of all of this should never be to stifle free speech, but rather the disruption of violent actions before they occur. Social media analytics technology is available to help law enforcement to disrupt such violence acts.
It’s now up to law enforcement and first responders to make the most of the “new media.”

Lieutenant Dale Peet is a 23-year veteran of the Michigan State Police who retired as commander of the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center, Michigan’s largest and primary homeland security fusion center. Peet now serves as Senior Industry Consultant at SAS. He can be reached at dale.peet(at)sas.com

The Rocky Mount Telegram - Trooper DeMuth laid to rest

The Rocky Mount Telegram - Trooper DeMuth laid to rest


The sight of the flagged-draped casket of N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Bobby Gene DeMuth Jr. was an emotional experience for everyone Wednesday morning. It brought many law enforcement officers to tears and visibly shook his family.

DeMuth, 42, was hit and killed Saturday while attempting to stop a suspect wanted in connection with an assault, kidnapping and robbery in Raleigh. Christopher McCoy Rodgers, 40, of Williamston was charged with murder and 18 other charges related to the incident.

The late Trooper Bobby G. DeMuth Jr.'s wife Michelle DeMuth is escorted to her seat on Wednesday at Red Oak Cemetery before DeMuth's burial service.
“Every one here and people all across this great state can certainly see that Gene’s death was a tragic and senseless event,” said N.C. Highway Patrol Capt. Wayne Taylor, Troop C commander. “However, through all the hurt, the pain, the lack of understanding as to why, we are already seeing results of his untimely death.”

Taylor and other speakers at DeMuth’s funeral at Englewood Baptist Church focused on the outpouring of support from law enforcement across the country and the community.

“The one thing that needs to come out of all of this, whether in law enforcement or in the community, you need to take the time to tell your loved ones you love them,” N.C. Highway Patrol First Sgt. Jeff Gordon said. “We live in such a fast-paced society that sometimes we get caught up in our day-to-day activities, but we need to take the time to slow down because life is too precious.”

Lt. Steven Finney, who was commandant of the training school when DeMuth joined the N.C.

Highway Patrol, said DeMuth’s never-fading smile initially drove him nuts. Their shared U.S. Marine Corps background combined with DeMuth’s determination made the time at the school memorable, he said. When it came time for graduation, Finney said he was proud to be the first to call him Trooper Bobby Gene DeMuth.

“When I stepped in front of him and put that badge on him for the first time, a tear was rolling down from his eye,” Finney said. “You could see his pride. It was an emotional tear that he had done it, he’d accomplished what he set out to do.”

He challenged the nearly 1,700 people in attendance to honor DeMuth’s legacy by “living our lives the way he lived his every single day.”

“We are now left with nothing but our memories and our thoughts, but rest assured that Gene is always going to be in our hearts,” he said. “He is in heaven now patrolling heaven’s highways, and I know he is grinning from ear to ear.”

After the service, a processional of family, friends and coworkers drove to Red Oak Cemetery as hundreds of people lined the streets. Gordon said businesses had employees standing with their hands over their hearts while residents stood on their porches or outside their cars waving American flags.

“It was really uplifting for all the law enforcement to see the support the community has for what we do on a day-to-day basis,” Gordon said. “It was absolutely amazing. I was speechless and it is something I will always remember.”

DeMuth leaves behind his wife, Michelle, and 8-year-old son, Trevor.

Stamford police chief to retire - StamfordAdvocate

Stamford police chief to retire - StamfordAdvocate

STAMFORD -- After 40 years in uniform and nearly three years as the city's top cop, Chief Robert Nivakoff announced Thursday he will leave the department at the end of the month.

Nivakoff, 60, who officially took over as chief in February 2010, but took control of the department the previous December, said he turned over many of his daily and operational duties to assistant Chief Jon Fontneau last week.

Nivakoff said he has accomplished much during his tenure and it is time for him to leave.
"In 2009, Mayor (Michael) Pavia tasked me with the modernizing of the Police Department technically, with neighborhood policing and computerization," said Nivakoff, who took the top position after Chief Brent Larabee -- currently East Haven police chief -- left Stamford after five years with the department. "To me it is now a contemporary police department.

"I feel that I did my best to fill the mandate he had given me. I've enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Mayor Pavia and I believe the department has become exponentially and significantly adept at every facet that a contemporary city would expect from its policemen and women."

Pavia, who served on the Police Commission from 1983 to 1991, said Nivakoff built an "entirely different department" equipped with a bomb squad, hostage negotiation capabilities and special dog units.

"I have an insight into how the Police Department operates, how it functions and how it serves the public," Pavia said Thursday. "But I have never seen the level of service in that department increase the way it has increased under the leadership of Chief Nivakoff. He has taken us from a provincial police department that served the public well into a modern city department that is serving the public even better."

Public Safety Director Ted Jankowski said: "Chief Nivakoff has been an outstanding police chief whose steadfast dedication to law enforcement, the city of Stamford and the department has been exemplary. He is a man of honor and integrity who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership throughout his career."

"Finding an individual with his experience, management skills, vision and humanity will be difficult to replace. It is no accident that the city of Stamford is one of the safest cities in the United States and in the Northeast."

Fontneau, 56, who will be named interim chief until the position is filled, said the men and women of the department have great respect for Nivakoff.

"Robert Nivakoff is and has always been a cop's cop," said Fontneau, a Stamford High School graduate who began his police career in Stamford in 1980, the same year Nivakoff transferred from The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Noting how Nivakoff came up through the ranks, Fontneau said, "He has been a great leader. He has brought the Police Department into the 21st century and improved many facets of the police department including training, our equipment and technology. Whoever is chosen following Bob's departure has some very big shoes to fill."

Nivakoff, who was named one of three Distinguished Chiefs of 2011 by the Police Commissioners Association of Connecticut, said his health was a significant factor in his decision to retire.

With 15 years as a patrolman, 14 years as a sergeant and the rest as a lieutenant and chief, Nivakoff said he has had 56 injuries on the job, including four concussions, and is fighting skin cancer and facing a back operation.

"This is a 24/7 job and the injuries that I sustained in my 20s, 30s and 40s have come back to bite me," said Nivakoff, who still works out at a gym and teaches criminology two days a week at Westchester Community College.

He said he is recommending Fontneau's appointment as police chief on a permanent basis.

During his time as chief, Nivakoff said he was proud to have revived aspecial weapons and tactics team, enlarged and diversified the K-9 Unit from two dogs to seven, instituted critical-incident training in dealing with emotionally disturbed people for every member of the department, expanded the bomb squad and put together a hostage negotiation team.

He said he did not do as much as he hoped in one area.

Though he said he made significant inroads to reduce overtime, he readily concedes he was unable to cut overtime to the satisfaction of government officials.

In August, police overtime was $391,000, compared with $500,000 in August 2008, he said, adding the cuts were made while increasing service with a smaller staff.

"In economic hard times, to keep the quality of life for the citizens of Stamford, I made as many proactive choices as possible to reduce overtime, but I wasn't successful enough," he said.

Nivakoff said he spent his happiest years from about 1990 to 2001 as a patrol sergeant on the city's West Side.

"I loved the West Side community. It is where I felt I did the most good. I was happy there," he said.

It was a superior who suggested that he should spend some time on the front desk to become a more rounded police officer. With the threat of desk work looming, and after passing up five lieutenants exams while a sergeant on the West Side, Nivakoff said he realized it was time to hit the books and earn his lieutenant's stripes.

Nivakoff said he has mixed emotions about leaving.

"Everybody reaches a point in life when they felt they have given it their all. I have clearly tried. I love the police and the people in this city. It was a tough decision; however it is time," he said.

Eloise Jordan, who has known Nivakoff for 35 years growing up on the West Side, said Nivakoff's retirement marks the end of an era and the veteran cop will be "truly, truly missed."

Jordan said when her father died in 1989 while she was living in Southfield Village, Nivakoff and other officers helped her family.

"They just brought a lot of food for the house and kept bringing food and sat there talking to us and helped all of us through a difficult time," she said.

Though Jordan, who now lives on the East Side, said Nivakoff had a "heart of gold," he "had to have a hard exterior to hold his ground in Southfield Village.

"It was rough up there. Robert came in there, walked the beat and talked to the kids. Whatever you needed at that time, he was there to help you out. If you needed a shoulder to cry on, he was there."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

L.A. Judge Says No to Executions; Study Shows Death Penalty Will Cost State Billions | Prop 34 | Ballot Brief | KCET

San Quentin State Prison, California
L.A. Judge Says No to Executions; Study Shows Death Penalty Will Cost State Billions | Prop 34 | Ballot Brief | KCET


Two major developments relating to Prop 34 on Monday. First, a judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court denied the county's request to move forward with the executions of two Death Row inmates.

California is currently locked in litigation over its method of execution, a three-drug lethal injection process that a court has ruled constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Earlier this year the district attorney's office asked a judge to set an execution date for two inmates at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County, anyway. But as KPCC reported, L.A. County Judge Larry Fidler said...
...that as a criminal trial judge, he lacked the authority to override a civil court order in Marin County or the California State Legislature's direction that a long administrative process is necessary to vet any lethal injection method.
At the same time, a new study released Monday concluded that under the state's current criminal justice system it would cost taxpayers between $5 billion and $7 billion more to execute a prisoner than it would to carry out a sentence of Life Without Parole.

Judge Arthur L. Alarcón and Paula M. Mitchell, the authors of the study, reported that by 2050...
"...roughly 740 more inmates will be added to death row, an additional fourteen executions will be carried out, and more than five hundred death-row inmates will die of old age or other causes before the state executes them."
Proponents of Prop 34, the November ballot measure that would end the death penalty in California, were quick to issue a statement on both developments.

"Today's ruling shows, once again, that California's death penalty is broken beyond repair," said Jeanne Woodford in the statement from SAFE California. Woodford is the former director of the California Department of Corrections and the past Warden of San Quentin. She is the official proponent of Prop 34.

"California voters have an historic opportunity this November to prevent the waste of that $5-7 billion, and to use the money to catch more murderers and rapists instead, in order to keep our families and communities safe," Woodford said.

Californians have historically supported the death penalty, and while some recent polls have suggested the tide is turning, others have shown, possibly because of the recent high-profile shootings at a Sikh temple and at a Colorado movie theater, the public may not be ready to get rid of it.

Either way, you can get more information on exactly what Prop 34 would do and who's funneling money to support or oppose it by checking out our cheat sheet.

Photo: A view of San Quentin State Prison in May 2009. L.A. County asked a judge to move forward with the executions of two of the prison's Death Row inmates, but their request was denied. | Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Plymouth Twp. Police Officer Shot in Head, Killed | NBC 10 Philadelphia

Plymouth Twp. Police Officer Shot in Head, Killed | NBC 10 Philadelphia

Officer Brad Fox would have celebrated his 35th birthday on Friday. The Plymouth Township police officer was killed in the line of duty while responding to a call for a hit-and-run Thursday afternoon.

Police say Fox was shot in the head near a bike path at Conshohocken Road and Ernest Station Road in Plymouth Township, Montgomery County.

District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman says this is the first time the Plymouth Township police department has had an officer killed in the line of duty.

Fox served two tours of duty in Iraq, according to the District Attorney. Authorities say Fox had a little girl and his wife is pregnant with their second child.

Police have confirmed that the suspect was also shot and killed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Update: Trooper In Critical Condition After Madison Co. Crash

Update: Trooper In Critical Condition After Madison Co. Crash


A North Carolina state trooper was hit by a car during a traffic stop in Madison County late Tuesday afternoon.

A spokesman for the North Carolina Highway Patrol says the incident happened on Highway 19, near Crooked Creek Road, shortly before 5 p.m.

Investigators say Trooper Matt Mitchell, 27, was conducting a traffic enforcement operation in a construction zone on Highway 19.

"His job was to ensure that people drove safely through the area," said F/Sgt. Pat Staggs.

According to Staggs, Mitchell pulled over Amanda Rose Smith when an eastbound vehicle ran off the right side of the road.  The SUV, driven by Lorretta Rice Marcum of Mars Hill, hit Mitchell and Smith’s car.

Mitchell was taken to Mission Hospital in Asheville where a spokesperson said he was in critical condition.

Marcum was taken to the hospital for observation and Smith was not injured.

"Every member of law enforcement understands and their families also understand the dangers out there, but it doesn't make it any easier when these things happen," says Stagg.

Mitchell has been with the NC Highway Patrol for four years.  Stagg says is assigned to the Burnsville District Office, which covers about six counties in western North Carolina.

His family released the following statement Wednesday:



"The family of Trooper Mitchell thanks everyone for their continued prayers and support.  We ask that our privacy be respected during this time, and that everyone continue to pray for Matt."


NC Highway Patrol continues to investigate the accident.

No charges have been filed at this point.  Stagg says its unknown if the driver that struck Mitchell violated the state's "Move Over" law which carries stiffer penalities.

The law requires motorists to either slow down or move to the far lane when passing police,
emergency workers, construction and utility crews working on the side of the road.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Colleagues mourn officer killed in Obama motorcade

The Associated Press: Colleagues mourn officer killed in Obama motorcade

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The danger in seemingly banal police work of directing traffic and shutting down roadways gained new attention Monday as colleagues mourned an officer who died while working on President Barack Obama's motorcade.

Jupiter Police Officer Bruce St. Laurent, 55, was killed Sunday in West Palm Beach after his motorcycle was struck by a pickup truck while he prepared to shut down a stretch of Interstate 95 ahead of the motorcade.

Outside Jupiter Town Hall, the flag was lowered to half-staff, the fallen officer's patrol car was draped in memorial bunting and makeshift memorials sprang up for friends and colleagues to light candles and leave flowers.


Though the task of keeping traffic at bay while a dignitary passes may seem routine, St. Laurent's death is just the latest in a line of deaths stretching back more than a century in which an officer was killed protecting the president.

"Even at their slowest speed, even at their simplest form, they have many, many unknowns in them,"

Sgt. Nicholas Onken of the Rio Rancho, N.M., Police Department, said of escorting high-profile figures. "What we do know is that we have a package to deliver safely from Point A to Point B."

Onken has worked on presidential motorcades for Obama and President George W. Bush and his friend, Officer Germaine Casey, died in a crash five years ago while escorting Bush. He said presidential motorcades can carry added risk over, say, a funeral procession, where officers typically would travel at lower speeds.

When the president visits, officers typically "leap-frog": closing down a section of roadway, then rushing past the president's car once he passes to establish new roadblocks further ahead. All of it must be done at a fast pace to ensure the dignitaries are protected.

Accidents involving presidential motorcades date back at least to 1902, when a Secret Service agent was struck and killed by a trolley car in Lenox, Mass., while serving in President Theodore Roosevelt's motorcade. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund counts 16 officers before St. Laurent who were killed while escorting a president or presidential candidate.

It's not even the first time such an incident has happened locally. Twenty years ago, when Sen. Paul Tsongas was seeking the White House, a Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy died in a motorcycle accident while escorting the candidate.

Though such accidents garner far more publicity than similar ones not involving a dignitary, Steve Groeninger, a spokesman for the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, said police face danger regardless of whom they're protecting.

Traffic fatalities were the leading cause of death for officers killed in the line of duty for 13 of the past 14 years, according to Groeninger. Firearms-related deaths led the fatalities in 2011, but traffic deaths are again the leading cause so far this year.

"There are inherent dangers in all of the calls and responsibilities that law enforcement make throughout their day and throughout their shift," Groeninger said. "It does sound routine, but I would venture to say most officers would say there's no such thing as a routine call."

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and Florida Highway Patrol were still probing the crash that killed St. Laurent and said it could take months before they determine whether charges are warranted.

The sheriff's office identified the driver as Susan Holloway, 56. Investigators say she slammed on her brakes to try avoiding the motorcycle. St. Laurent was thrown from his bike and caught underneath Holloway's truck. A call to a phone listing for Holloway went unanswered on Monday.

Across all fatal traffic cases, officers say a spate of distracted drivers are complicating their work.
"It's a rarity that they happen at these things but it can happen at any event," said Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, who served on several presidential protection details in the 1970s. "People are just not paying attention."

Tod Burke, a criminal justice professor at Radford University who was once a police officer who assisted with a visit to Maryland by President Jimmy Carter, said distracted rivers add an extra layer of complexity to an already-difficult job.

"The officers who are doing these details have to be even more vigilant, have to be more aware, have to be more defensive than they were in the past," he said. "And then you throw on top, 'Hey, the president's coming.'"

St. Laurent had 20 years of experience, all but two of them as a motorcycle officer, and had worked in numerous presidential motorcades over the years. Sgt. Scott Pascarella, a friend of St Laurent who trained him when he joined the Jupiter Police, said he was always eager to volunteer for such duty.

"He was proud to serve," Pascarella said. "And he was doing what he wanted to do at the time he passed."

Onken, the New Mexico officer, gave the eulogy at his friend's funeral. He focused on Casey's personal strengths and the example he set for others. He didn't mention the honor and nobility he believed Casey showed dying while protecting the president.

"It really didn't need to be said," Onken said.

West Bloomfield officer fatally shot; police in standoff with gunman | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com

West Bloomfield officer fatally shot; police in standoff with gunman |

West Bloomfield Township — A 12-year veteran of the police department was fatally shot Sunday night at a home near Pontiac Trail and Halsted, prompting a police standoff with gunfire exchanges for more than 10 hours.

According to authorities, police responding 10 p.m. Sunday to a "shots fired" run at a residence on the 4000 block of Forest Edge Lane were met with gunfire, striking one officer, Patrick O'Rourke, 39.

O'Rourke, a married father of four, later died after being taken to nearby McLaren Hospital in Pontiac, police said. It was the township's first officer fatality in its history.

According to West Bloomfield Township Police Lt. Timothy Diamond, several officers went into the home upon their arrival, and they encountered gunfire when entering a bedroom.

"It's shocking," Diamond said. "We are a tight-knit group over here. We aren't used to losing anybody, so this is especially tragic."

The gunman is believed to still be inside the home Monday morning, prompting the evacuation of some residents of Forest Edge Lane. Those residents have been moved to the township's hall.

"We are sure he is still in there," said Diamond. "He has fired off several more gunshots."
Township officials hope an armored vehicle will put an end to the standoff Monday.

Police say the gunman has fired 50 gunshots, including shooting up a police robot. It is believed the gunman has several weapons, including an Uzi submachine gun. As of 8:30 a.m., police reported no activity in the house in the last 90 minutes but then gunfire erupted shortly after.

"It's been a long morning," said West Bloomfield Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste, who has been with about 30 residents from the neighborhood.

The scene has been turned over to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office SWAT team, Diamond said. Neighboring departments have also shown up at the West Bloomfield Township station and offered their services to the 71-man department "to help with the current situation and what we will go through in the days ahead," Diamond said.

Diamond said the incident began shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday when several people fled the address and called 911 to report a family member had fired gunshots in the house.

"We don't know what set him off," said Diamond. "Officers responded and went in looking for the guy … they made their way to a second floor and outside a bedroom when he opened fire."

O'Rourke was hit and other officers retreated with him. Shots were exchanged with the gunman, Diamond said. It is not known if the gunman was hit.

O'Rourke is described as "a model police officer and a good family man."

Diamond said police are still looking into the shooter's background but said the township has not had contact with him or the address outside of an "occasional false alarm run" due to a burglar alarm going off at the home. Homes in the area are equipped with the devices and it is not uncommon, he said.

A bus was brought in to evacuate neighbors on the street of about 15 homes located east of Halsted Road, Diamond said.

They were taken to the township hall where they made arrangements with friends or relatives, Diamond said.

Ureste said residents were evacuated at about 2 a.m. The Salvation Army has brought in food for the families as police officers stood in the hallways of the township hall.

Amy Kaplansky, a West Bloomfield Township resident who lives two houses away from the shooting, has been up all night at town hall. Police evacuated Kaplansky and her 11-year-old son, Josh, early Monday morning. Kaplansky sat in the town hall common area Monday morning watching for a signal that it's alright to go home.

"We heard gun shots, but several police officers were there, so we knew something was going on," Kaplansky said. "We were all scared."

Also there, Lori Sellman, a 10-year neighborhood resident, said the experience was unreal.

"You're sleeping and the next thing you have knocks on your door and you have to get dressed quickly and you're being driven away in a Humvee," Sellman said. "And this is West Bloomfield, Michigan. This is the stuff that you see in the movies. It's crazy."

Traffic has been closed on Pontiac Trail for several hours in both directions, Diamond said. It is not known how long the roadway will be closed, so motorists are encouraged to seek alternative routes Monday.

Come back to detroitnews.com as this story develops.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fallen SAPD officer honored with Purple Heart - San Antonio Express-News

Fallen SAPD officer honored with Purple Heart - San Antonio Express-News

When the Police Department honored Officer Stephanie Brown in May, her family was in Washington, D.C., watching as her name was added to the memorial of officers killed the previous year.

On Saturday at the Alamodome, Police Chief William McManus finally draped a Purple Heart medal around the neck of her father, Officer Stanley Brown.

Stephanie Brown died March 15, 2011, killed by a drunken driver going the wrong way on Interstate 35.

Stanley Brown, a 12-year veteran of the force, said that even though he knew the dangers of police work, he didn't worry about his daughter more than the average parent.

“You always worry about your kids, whether they're in the Police Department or not,” Stanley Brown said. “It doesn't matter what they do, you always worry about them.”

Stephanie Brown's daughter, Audrey De La Rosa, 2, and mother, Shawn Brown, were at the ceremony as well.

Stanley Brown, 54, also was asked to make the coin toss before Saturday's University of Texas at San Antonio football game, although he said he's a bigger fan of “the real football” — soccer.


San Antonio Police Chief William McManus (left) shakes hands with Officer Stanley Brown who accepted the department's Purple Heart medal in honor of his daughter and slain Officer Stephanie Brown during a ceremony at the Alamodome on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. Stephanie Brown was killed last March while on duty when her police vehicle was struck by a suspected drunk driver. Stephanie Brown's daughter, Audrey, was also in attendance for the ceremony.
Photos: Kin Man Hui, San Antonio Express-News / ©2012 San Antonio Express-News


The death of Stephanie Brown, a single mother, helped focus public interest on the issue of wrong-way drivers, McManus said.

“When police officers out there trying to protect people from wrong-way drivers are getting killed themselves, then something's seriously wrong,” he said.

The attention paid to Brown's death galvanized support for a plan to deal with wrong-way drivers, McManus said. Shortly after she was killed, a multi-agency committee was convened to address the issue. Now, electronic signs on highways warn of wrong-way drivers, and lighted warning signs have been installed on entrance and exit ramps.


Stanley Brown said people approach him on the street with personal stories about how his daughter affected them. That helps, he said, but the pain still lingers.

“It's hard,” he said. “There will always be something that will come up and make you think about what happened.”

jbuch@express-news.net

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Aberdeen Police Officer Dies After Fall From I-95 « CBS Baltimore

Aberdeen Police Officer Dies After Fall From I-95 « CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An Aberdeen police officer fell to his death from I-95 early Saturday morning.

According to officials, Officer First Class Charles N. Armetta, 29, was traveling in a limousine when he got out of the vehicle near Exit 52. He fell off the road and into a wooded area below.

Officials say that’s a fall of approximately 47 feet. Police say it can be hard to see the distance to the ground from the road.

Armettaa was pronoucned dead at the scene.

This is the second Harford County police officer death this week.

NC trooper killed trying to end high-speed chase | MyFOX8.com – Greensboro, High-Point, Winston-Salem News & weather from WGHP Television FOX8

NC trooper killed trying to end high-speed chase | MyFOX8.com

SPRING HOPE, N.C. — A state Highway Patrol trooper is dead after being struck by a car while he tried to deploy stop sticks during a high-speed chase that covered parts of Wake and Nash counties.

Highway Patrol officials say Trooper Bobby G. Demuth was struck and killed Saturday morning near Spring Hope.

Raleigh Police Department officers had tried to stop a 1995 Nissan 200SX on U.S. 64 eastbound in Wake County. When the chase continued into Nash County, authorities said Demuth was struck and killed as he tried to deploy stop sticks.

A 40-year-old man from Williamston was taken into custody.

Demuth was a 12-year veteran stationed in Rocky Mount.

Friday, September 7, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Alabama Sheriff Shot, One Other Person Dead : NorthEscambia.com

BREAKING NEWS: Alabama Sheriff Shot, One Other Person Dead : NorthEscambia.com

Escambia County (Ala.) Sheriff Grover Smith was shot and a suspect is dead following a standoff in Flomaton this morning.
The incident began about 8 a.m. on Arrington Drive, just off Highway 31. It came to an end just after 10:30 a.m. with a report that a deputy had been shot and one other person is dead.

Smith was transported in good condition to a hospital in Brewton with a superficial wound to his arm.

Reports indicate that the individual holding law enforcement at bay this morning died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is conducting the investigation.

Further details will be posted as they become available.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

City decides murdered officer died in the line of duty, will pay funeral expenses, benefits — NewsWorks

City decides murdered officer died in the line of duty, will pay funeral expenses, benefits



UPDATED: The city of Philadelphia has determined that Police Officer Moses Walker, who was killed when two men tried to rob him in North Philadelphia, died in the line of duty. The finding will enable Walker's familiy to get city payments for his funeral expenses and other benefits.

Mayor Michael Nutter called Walker's mother today and told her of the determination, made by the city law department.

Walker was killed in civilian clothes after he'd completed his overnight shift on August 18th.

According to Nutter's spokesman Mark McDonald, the Walker family will receive $15,000 in funeral expenses from the city, and his survivors will receive a service-connected death pension.

The finding that Walker died in the line of duty will also trigger payments of $419,000 in state and federal funds dedicated to the families of public safety officers killed while performing their jobs.

McDonald said the determination regarding the status of Walker's death followed the normal course for such events, which include a recommendation by the police department and a review by the city law department.

Earlier Thursday, City Councilman Jim Kenney held a news conference to urge the prompt approval of service-connected death benefits for Walker.

"I was at the Deliverance Church for Officer Walker's funeral," said Kenney. "To see the 100 family members that were devastated by this wonderful man's loss, and to hear the platitudes that were spoken about him, and then to hear that he tried to stop an armed robbery and was killed and he was not on duty."

Kenney said he wants to put together a panel that would review all city worker deaths to determine if they occurred in the line of duty.

Gaffney Woman Becomes First Female Deputy in Two Decades

Gaffney Woman Becomes First Female Deputy in Two Decades






A Gaffney woman was sworn in this week as Cherokee County's first female deputy in more than two decades.

Amanda Henderson, 23, was sworn in Wednesday morning at the Cherokee County Courthouse after working as a detention center officer for almost three-and-a-half years.

Henderson's dream of becoming a deputy -- and eventually a crime scene investigator -- began with a real-life nightmare.

"I remember when my momma got the call, but I didn't know what going on," Henderson recalled with tears in her eyes.

She was just six years old when her maternal grandmother, Charlene Simmons, was stabbed to death in Cleveland County, NC.

"She was my grandma, she was my world, and she was took from me."

For 17 years, Simmons' case remained cold until a couple of months ago when three men were charged with murder; a fourth suspect had since died.

During those almost two decades of the unknown, Henderson developed a passion for law enforcement because of wanting to solve her grandmother's case.

What's more, she says she'll have a special connection to the families and victims of violent crime.

"I can be somebody for them that they can talk to that kind of has a little bit of understanding of what it feels like to have somebody taken from you," Henderson said.

Henderson will spend a few months shadowing patrol deputies before attending 12 weeks at the police academy, after which she'll be ready for duty.

Governor Brown Issues Statement on Death of California Highway Patrol Officer

Officer Kenyon M. Youngstrom
Governor Brown Issues Statement on Death of California Highway Patrol Officer

Sacramento, California - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement regarding the death of California Highway Patrol Officer Kenyon M. Youngstrom:

“Anne and I extend our deep condolences to Officer Youngstrom’s family, friends and colleagues as they mourn the tragic loss of this dedicated officer, father, husband, veteran and friend. Officer Youngstrom died protecting the community he served, and we are grateful to him for that. We will always remember his courage, commitment and service.”

Officer Youngstrom, 37, of Fairfield, died Wednesday, September 5, after being shot while conducting a traffic stop alongside Interstate 680 in Walnut Creek the morning of September 4.

Officer Youngstrom entered the CHP Academy in August 2005 and was assigned to the CHP’s Contra Costa Area upon graduation in February 2006. He transferred to the CHP’s Golden Gate Division headquarters in January 2009 and had transferred back to the Contra Costa Area office on August 1, 2012.

He served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1994 to 2000, achieving the rank of specialist.
Officer Youngstrom is the 223rd CHP officer to be killed in the line of duty since 1929.

He is survived by his wife, Karen, two sons and two daughters, parents, Gaylord and Jill Youngstrom of Riverside, CA, four brothers and a sister.

In honor of Officer Youngstrom, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

WATCH: Indiana officer’s harrowing shooting caught on dash cam. ‘I didn’t think I was going to live,’ says shot cop  - NY Daily News

WATCH: Indiana officer’s harrowing shooting caught on dash cam. ‘I didn’t think I was going to live,’ says shot cop  - NY Daily News


Indiana police officer Matt Fox always knew it was a possibility he could be shot on duty, but when it happened, he didn’t expect to survive.

Now, more than a month after being shot multiple times during what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop, Fox, 30, is ready to talk about the terrifying ordeal.

“I didn’t think I was going to live,” the veteran Fortville officer said of the July 27 incident that was caught on dash cam.

“I don't even know the words to describe it. It's a very terrifying moment, especially being hit as many times as I was."

In the video, Fox begins a car pursuit of James Lockhart III, 27, who refused to pull over for a broken taillight. Lockhart eventually jumps from his Volvo and fires multiple rounds directly at Fox before speeding away. The suspected gunman was later killed in a shootout with police and a cache of weapons and a pound of marijuana was found in his car, law enforcement officials said.

"I knew I got hit in the head," Fox told the Indianapolis Star of the shooting. “A head shot is often a fatal injury or a life-changing injury (where) you might be alive but have mental issues from the injuries."

Fox was hit by at least four other bullets, with wounds to his hands, chest and forearm. He has had speech, memory, and balance problems but Fox, the father of a 4-year-old daughter, says he’s on the road to recovery and intends to return to duty.’

“I'm making progress every day. It will be five weeks Friday (since the shooting). My balance was off. Now I've passed all my balance tests with flying colors."














Though he refused to speculate on whether he could have pulled his gun earlier, he is certain he followed protocol.

Watch Fox's interview

"Most law abiding citizens always stop for lights, for a police officer, so when somebody's not wanting to pull over and takes off, it heightens your awareness of what's going on," Fox said. "Did this guy just commit a murder? You don't know...It definitely gets your adrenaline running."

The incident also reminded him of his priorities. The wounded officer spent his 30th birthday in July recovering in the hospital.

‘"It definitely gives you a better sense of how precious life is," he said, "and how life could change in a matter of a split second."





vcavaliere@nydailynews.com

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

UPDATE: CHP officer, motorist dead after Bay Area freeway shootout - latimes.com (Corrected)

CHP officer, motorist dead after Bay Area freeway shootout - latimes.com


This post has been corrected by the LA Times as noted below.

A California Highway Patrol officer is in grave condition and an motorist has died after a freeway shootout in Contra Costa County on Tuesday morning, law enforcement sources said.

The exchange of gunfire took place about 8:30 a.m., moments after the officer pulled over a motorist in a green Jeep Wrangler on Interstate 680 just south of Walnut Creek, said Contra Costa County sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee.

The identity of the officer, who is assigned to the Contra Costa field office, was not immediately released. He was taken in grave condition to John Muir Medical Center.

The driver almost immediately pulled out a gun and began shooting at the officer, Lee said. A second officer who arrived at the scene shot the motorist, who was later pronounced dead at the same hospital.

"We are still trying to determine the exact reason for the traffic stop," Lee said.

The CHP closed a section of southbound Interstate 680 for hours as authorities conducted an investigation. Joining the CHP were the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department and the district attorney's office. Northbound lanes were also closed but were open by early afternoon.

[For the Record, 8:04 p.m., Sept. 4: A previous version of this post said that the CHP officer died. Sources say that he is brain dead, but is being kept on life support.]

UPDATED STORY: 1:52 EDT, Sept. 5, 2012
The California Highway Patrol identified the officer who was shot alongside I-680 during a routine traffic stop Tuesday morning as Kenyon Marc Youngstrom (pictured below).

Youngstrom is reportedly on life support at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek surrounded by family and fellow officers.
 
The man he pulled over was also shot in the incident. That still unidentified man later died at the hospital.

Investigators have scheduled a 11 a.m. news conference Wednesday to update the case. It is expected they will release more information about the suspect, including his name.

For now, here is what we know about the incident: Contra Costa County Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said two CHP officers in two separate patrol cars pulled over a driver of a green Jeep Wrangler at 8:19 a.m.

During the stop, Lee said the Jeep driver pulled out a gun and opened fire on Youngstrom. The second officer then returned fire on the driver, who later died.

Lee said there was a dash camera inside one of the patrol cars and the video was being analyzed.
Youngstrom, a 7-year veteran of the CHP and a former member of the U.S. Army Reserve, is based out of the Martinez office of the highway patrol. He has a wife and four children.


On Wednesday, three men stood at the entrance of the CHP office holding American flags. They said they wanted to show officers arriving to work today that they had their support.

Driver dies, CHP officer critically wounded in shootout on I-680 in Alamo - San Jose Mercury News

Driver dies, CHP officer critically wounded in shootout on I-680 in Alamo - San Jose Mercury News


A California Highway Patrol officer was critically injured and a motorist was killed in a traffic-stop shootout Tuesday morning on a San Ramon Valley freeway, sparking a daylong road closure and drawing dozens of officers to the hospital to keep vigil over their downed comrade.

The CHP exchanged gunfire with a suspect about 8:20 a.m. near the Livorna Road offramp from southbound Interstate 680, officials said. Both the suspect and one of the officers were rushed to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek with critical injuries.


The suspect died at the hospital, according to Contra Costa Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee, whose agency is leading the investigation. The suspect has not been identified pending
notification of relatives.


Outside John Muir hospital, where media awaited news on the conditions of the officer and suspect, CHP Sgt. Diana McDermott said she appreciated concerns expressed by the public.

"We are family and the community is part of that family as well," McDermott said. "This is a situation where we all take an oath not to swerve from the path of duty. As you can imagine, it's difficult."

The unidentified CHP officer was making a traffic stop on a Jeep-style vehicle on southbound I-680, just north of Livorna.

"The driver pulled out a gun and shot at the officer, severely injuring him," Lee said.

A backup officer who also responded to the stop then fired into the vehicle, wounding the driver,
Lee said.


There was no radio call after the shooting from officers needing assistance. Instead, authorities were alerted by a 911 call to Walnut Creek police from a concerned citizen, saying an officer needed help, said CHP Officer John Fransen. The second CHP officer aided the injured officer until emergency medical crews arrived. 

Authorities did not reveal additional information about the wounded officer other than that he is based out of the Contra Costa area field office in Martinez. Police sources have said the officer was shot in the neck, though officials have not disclosed that detail. Investigators also plan to review dashboard-camera footage from one of the patrol cars.



In the midst of the investigation, an alert was issued for a second vehicle, a 1998 Nissan Maxima, which was found in Danville, Lee said. The driver, a 35-year-old Oakley resident, was located, interviewed, and cleared of suspicion. She had been stopped nearby for an unrelated cellphone violation around the time of the shooting, and authorities sought her to assess any possible involvement.

An expanding battery of patrol cars and police motorcycles from the CHP, Walnut Creek police and the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office is gathering at the hospital as officers mill in and out of the emergency room. Reporters have been turned away from the campus grounds.

The investigation into the shooting is being led by the Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Office, which is standard procedure for any officer-involved shooting that occurs in Contra Costa County.

Southbound Interstate 680 between South Main Street and Livorna Road will be closed until at least 5 p.m. Tuesday while investigators examine the scene, the CHP said. Motorists are advised to avoid the area.

Northbound lanes between Sycamore Valley Road in Danville and South Main Street were also shut down but reopened about 1 p.m.

The incident occurred during the busy rush hour and traffic was at a standstill for much of the morning. According to Caltrans, 180,000 vehicles a day travel on the stretch of I-680 at Livorna Road, with a peak of 14,000 vehicles per hour during the commute.

Check back later for updates to this story.